ADDITIONAL testing is being redeployed in response to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Upper Nithsdale.
It comes as Dumfries and Galloway prepares to move from Level 2 to Level 1 in the national protection framework, and amid a recognition of the particular challenges faced by communities on the borders of the region.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “COVID-19 does not recognise or respect boundaries.
“We know that there are higher rates of COVID in neighbouring Board areas, and actions like the national five-level framework and restrictions on travel are there to help limit spread and reduce the number of cases.
“But while activity is taking place elsewhere in Scotland to promote these actions and curb the spread of COVID, it’s important that we do everything within our power locally to help protect ourselves and each other.
“Concern around a cluster of cases in Upper Nithsdale has prompted plans to bring in additional mobile testing. We’d ask anyone who thinks they may be experiencing any symptoms of COVID, even if those symptoms are mild, to immediately self-isolate with their household contacts and arrange to be tested.
“And to all those who aren’t experiencing symptoms, please do continue to follow the guidance around wearing of face coverings, hand hygiene and around physical distancing and interaction. It’s by doing this that we not only protect ourselves, but importantly our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and communities.”
Extra testing capacity will be provided at Mill Hill Centre, Corserig Crescent Kelloholm, tomorrow, December 10, from 10 am to 4 pm.
It will also be available at the same location on Monday December 14 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Bookings can be made from 6 pm online the night before each date, by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test
The provision of additional testing in Upper Nithsdale means that testing in Dumfries scheduled tomorrow is delayed until Friday, and moves in Stranraer from Monday to Tuesday December 15.
A reminder is being issued that, despite the move from Level 2 to Level 1, minimal travel is recommended between different levels, and no travel is permitted into Level 3 and 4 areas outside Dumfries and Galloway unless absolutely essential.
In addition, in-home socialising is still not permitted in Dumfries and Galloway, and a maximum of six people from two households are allowed to meet in indoor public places, and eight people from three households outdoors.
Ms White said: “Through fantastic efforts and sacrifices made by everyone, the number of new COVID cases has declined in the last few weeks.
“However, we are still seeing COVID-19 in every locality within Dumfries and Galloway – in Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewartry and Wigtownshire.
“Although we are particularly conscious of the challenges faced by communities which border others outside the region with higher rates, and recognise they must be especially on guard, it is vital that everyone in Dumfries and Galloway continues to follow the national directions.
“Although COVID has resulted in tragedies within our region, we have so far not been as badly affected as some other areas. With the prospect that vaccines will offer a move towards a more stable long-term position, and a return to our normal lives, it’s vital that we keep up our efforts and not falter and put at risk all that has been achieved.”